The Reverse Bucket List

I’m not a bucket list person. I’ve stated that before. I always feel like if it’s on a “bucket list,” it’s not ever going to happen. I know, I know…pessimistic.

It’s just that when I sit and think about all I haven’t done yet and then look at my age (very close to being 36), I cringe. I find it’s easy to get down on myself when I think like that.

I do love the idea of a Reverse Bucket List though.  Angela of Happy Fit Mama posted hers recently and I found myself nodding along. I love the idea of celebrating what we have already accomplished instead of dwelling on a list of yet-to-do’s (or never-will-do).

Because Angela inspired me, here is my Reverse Bucket List (in no particular order other than the stream of conscious spilling from my brain and seeping out of my fingers):

  • earned two degrees: Bachelor’s and Master’s
  • had four pregnancies
  • gave birth via C-Section twice
Eddie's Birth

Eddie’s Birth

Charlie's Birth Day

Charlie’s Birth


  • survived postpartum depression and anxiety
  • trained for and did a 5K
  • flew on a plane alone to California despite my fear of flying alone.
  • had my heart broken by someone who wasn’t worth it.
  • was published in PRINT
  • is set to be published in print again
  • have been in the same school district teaching for 13+ years…even through SEVERAL close calls with layoffs due to budget cuts.
  • learned to admit when I am wrong, and apologize sincerely for it.
  • did mission work to help rebuild after hurricane Andrew in the early 90’s.
  • questioned the faith I was handed as a child, and came back to it on my own terms.
  • helped my husband through abdominal surgery and the loss of his father…on the same day.
  • miscarried without intrusive medical “help”
  • sought help when things were not Ok.
  • learned to say “no”
  • got a job teaching at the college level
  • got AP credits by taking the test, but not taking an AP class
  • went to BlogHer…twice
BlogHer14, yo.

BlogHer14, yo.

  • began calling myself a writer…and meaning it.
  • was honored as Teacher of the Year in 2004.
  • was honored as Elective Teacher of the Year by the class of 2011.
  • quite literally married my best friend.

Reverse Bucket List

  • started (and kept up with) a blog {over 6.5 years, yo!)
  • been a part of over a dozen weddings (including my own, of course)
  • got a tattoo
  • attended around 100 concerts
  • saw Pearl Jam play Wrigley
Pearl Jam at Wrigley 2013

Pearl Jam at Wrigley 2013

  • saw both the Atlantic (honeymoon) and the Pacific in the span of a year
  • took pictures of some of the dives that Pearl Jam played in Seattle before they were famous
  • visited the John Lennon exhibit at the Rock n Roll hall of fame
  • watched the fish get thrown at Pike’s Place in Seattle
Pike's Place Market, Seattle

Pike’s Place Market, Seattle

  • drove through the Badlands
  • went on “spring break” to Florida in college
  • did a road trip with friends to NYC to see Dave Matthew’s play at Giant’s stadium (with Beck and Ben Folds Five) and stayed in the basement of the house of a family a friend nanny-ed for.
  • saw The Phantom of the Opera on stage in Toronto
  • watched fireworks from a boat many times
sunset over Lake Michigan just before fireworks

sunset over Lake Michigan just before fireworks

  • went skinny dipping
  • sang Snoop Dogg songs karaoke
  • made a house a home
  • never accidentally hit “reply all”
  • participated in Habit for Humanity
  • lead a staff Professional Development…that seemed successful
  • picked myself back up when I didn’t want to.

Whew.  That is all I can think of right now, which is pretty good, yes?

It’s so much more uplifting to think about your accomplishments than your “haven’t done yet’s”.  I have a bad habit of DAILY going over the things I didn’t get to instead of celebrating the things I did. Even if the only thing I did was get out of bed. Some days that is an accomplishment on its own, am I right?

I’ve noticed this bad habit in Eddie too.

He is a worrier like me. He frets about the things he doesn’t know how to do yet, or didn’t get to do.

I think I need to help him develop a new habit: listing his accomplishments.  I know making this list made me stand a little taller and smile a little wider.

How about you? What is your “reverse bucket list”? What have you accomplished?

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. “Never accidentally hitting reply all” – heh.
    Love your list. You’ve done amazing things. xo

  2. I drove through the badlands – and it was pretty amazing! (as are all your accomplishments, you skinny-dipping rebel, you!)

  3. I would have never pictured you as a skinny dipper!! Shocked!! While thinking it is awesome at the same time. This has also got me to going hmmm yeah I need to do this. Been a rough few months around here lately..

  4. I agree I think I like these “have dones” a lot more than the “want tos”. Even though those aren’t really words.

  5. I saw Phantom in Toronto too!

    I love this idea!
    I think I will start doing one —- some years before wife and motherhood may have to be filtered or censored, but I think it will be okay. 🙂

  6. Great list of accomplishments, Katie! I don’t know if I will ever do one… does “eat several boxes of movie candy in one day” count as an accomplishment?

  7. Love this, lady, and wowsa! You’ve done so much!!

  8. I just love that you married your best friend. And that is just one of the MANY awesome things. This is such a great idea! Your list is SO great!!

  9. Awesome list! My hubs would be quite jealous of you PJ experiences. He’s a little obsessed wih them. 😉 Thanks for linking up!

  10. Love all of your list, girl!
    You have done so much.
    Silently adding skinny dipping on my bucket list hah!

  11. I love this list, Katie! And I’m quite proud of the reply-all bit, for you 🙂

  12. What an amazing life! I love this and need to compile a list of my own.

    Thanks for sharing you, Katie!


  13. Love your reverse bucket list! I love how your family plays a central role in so many of your accomplishments. I’m so glad Angela hosted this link-up. What a great way to reflect on the good things in life. Never fails to fill me with gratitude!

  14. I love your list! So funny how we can think we haven’t done much until we tally it all up.

  15. LOVE this post! Love the courage t brag about what you have done that is awesome!


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